Joe Bell is a winner.
That his journey ended long before he reached his destination does not change this essential truth.
He did what he set out to do when he walked away from La Grande, many months and more than a thousand miles ago.
Bell, who lived in La Grande, embarked on a walk across America to tell people about his 15-year-old son, Jadin, who took his own life last winter after being bullied at school. Jadin was targeted, according to family and friends, at least in part because he was openly gay.
Joe Bell was struck and killed by a semi-truck on a Colorado highway Wednesday night.
His pilgrimage has ended.
His message, though, will continue.
And though this must of course be meager solace to Joe's family and friends, it is a significant reality.
It's obvious, from the reactions of the people Joe met along the way or who only knew him through media accounts, that he achieved his goal of explaining, in the most personal way imaginable, how destructive bullies can be.
No one who ever heard Joe's story could ever feel the same about bullying. These people, we're sure, will continue to advocate for tolerance, and in so doing they will keep alive the cause to which Joe had dedicated his life.